Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Picnic Quilt

Summer Picnic Quilt tutorial


When summer arrives, I always get the itch to make a quilt.  Nevermind the fact that I live in Texas and it is sweltering, to say the least.  Also, disregard the fact that I have quilts coming out of my ears...what is that saying...you can't swing a cat without hitting a quilt?  (Surely that isn't the saying, but I think you catch my drift!)  So when I am thinking about making a new quilt...I need to have a reason for it, aside from just being functional to keep you warm.  I also love to sew with materials that are a little unexpected.  So I teamed up with Janome and American Quilter's Society to bring you a free tutorial for a great summer picnic quilt.

This pattern is great for many reasons.  It's layer cake friendly, which makes it a super quick sew.  The blocks are large enough to feature those great prints you've been holding on to for a special quilt.  The quilt is large enough to accommodate a family picnic at the park.  The backing can be made from laminated cotton (or regular quilting cotton, if you choose), so it won't pick up dirt as easily as standard quilting cotton.  You can just as easily throw it in the wash as you can a regular quilt (line dry to be on the safe side).  So grab two layer cake packs and your favorite sewing and quilting notions and get ready to sew your socks off!  Follow the link to the American Quilter's Society blog to get started on your picnic quilt.  

This is a great quilt to fold up and keep in the back of the car for unexpected outings (and if you have a little one in diapers, you can always use the laminated cotton side as a quick changing station on the go!).  

I quilted this with some large meandering loops on my Janome MC9400, and was done with the quilting in under two hours.  

Since the back of my quilt uses laminated cotton, I slipped a Supreme Slider onto the bed of the sewing machine and it really helped glide the fabric easily under the needle.  This isn't something you have to do, but it certainly makes the task a little easier.  I tend to use one anytime I'm quilting something larger than a mini quilt.  Put on your favorite podcast/Netflix and get ready to sew up a storm!  Happy sewing :) 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer fun and a DIY first aid kit

DIY first aid kit
Now that summer is here, many people are planning day outings or vacations with the kiddos.  It's a good idea to have a first aid kit with you in case something happens, and I know I haven't even kept one in my car (I'm learning, though!).  So this pattern has a free zipper pouch tutorial and a free foundation paper piecing tutorial in it.  Two for the price of one! But not really, because they're both free ;)  Head over to the AQS Blog and get your free tutorial HERE!

finished foundation block

If you don't feel like messing around with the band aid block and the paper piecing, you can totally skip that part and just cut two slid pieces of fabric for the front and back.  But those little band aids are so cute!  

I filled my little kit up with band aids, some antiseptic spray and wipes, bandage tape, gauze, and antibiotic ointment.  You can personalize yours however you'd like and maybe sew up an extra one for a friend (or for dad's car).  The little band aids are a great way to use up small scraps of fabric.  I know I have a hard time throwing any fabric away, so I'll keep this block pattern close at hand for teacher gifts or whatever!  Happy sewing until next time!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Quilting on unconventional fabrics - Quilted Notebook bag tutorial

Happy, happy 4th of July!  I hope you're able to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones and make some great memories.  

Today, I'm excited to share a free tutorial that I created with the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400 for an awesome project bag.  I'm always scouring the house for bags to load up with notebooks, sketch pads, folders, or whatever I'm currently working on to squeeze in a few extra minutes of work on the go, and this bag has a little extra depth to really protect all those items.  It's also reversible, so you can make one side to go with the fall season and the other a little brighter to work with spring and summer!

Reversible Notebook Bag
Plus...we'll take a look at quilting on a thicker fabric than your usual quilting cotton.  I do a lot of quilting and embroidery on leather and faux leather fabrics, and there is a lot of hesitation when it comes to that from some.  When I started sewing, I didn't take a bunch of classes...rather, I just dove in and experimented to find what worked for me.  I didn't have anyone there to tell me I shouldn't try something, or that it wouldn't work, so I think that was a huge benefit.  For this tutorial, break out that walking foot (or your free motion foot) and try your hand at some geometric quilting.  


Janome Dual Feed Foot quilting geometric lines on faux leather
If you haven't tried quilting on leather or faux leather before, I'd recommend getting a few scraps of some cheap faux leather--my local Joann's has lots of remnants on clearance that I grab whenever I can--and do some quick samples.  I usually do my best work on "trash" fabric when there's no pressure to mess up expensive fabrics.  I'll make sure my pieces are big enough to make a little cosmetic bag or something with later on, because 9 times out of 10, I end up wishing I could save my sample!  

This really is a quick sew--and you can easily alter the bag measurements to make the bag any size you like, upgrade it to add some pockets on the interior and exterior, or whatever your needs are.  Check out the full tutorial on the American Quilter's Society Blog and have fun with it!  Go and conquer your fears of quilting on some different fabrics, and happy sewing!




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gifts for mom - the generational pillow

A few weeks ago around Mother's Day, I was contemplating what handmade gifts would be truly appreciated by mom.  As a new mom, I was excited to celebrate my first mother's day, but didn't really care about getting any gift (I honestly wanted some house chores done as a gift, and maybe some honey-do's!), so I was thinking about gifts with meaning.  I was seeing lots of advertisements on social media for jewelry and diamonds and just lots of STUFF.  I'm not much of a jewelry person, but the diamonds got me thinking about birthstones and some of the jewelry I had seen a few years ago.  I remembered one of my friends receiving a ring that had her kids' birthstones set in it, and how much she loved it.  How could you translate that representation into a quilt?  And how many people have time to whip up a "quick" quilt, by the time they are pondering mother's day gifts?

I thought a decorative pillow for the couch or bed might be more practical and manageable on a short time frame.  So I teamed up with Janome to create a generational pillow that would be a great design for using the birthstone jewelry idea and making something for the home.  You can view the free tutorial on the Janome Projects Website


I used the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400QCP to sew this project, and sewing the curves was a breeze.  I'm completely spoiled by this machine and will be hard pressed to sew on anything else ever again.  It even has an additional light that you can pull out for a better lit area when sewing.  It's extremely helpful, especially if you are sewing dark fabrics and using dark thread.  Another favorite perk from this machine is that when you stop sewing, the needle remains in the down position.  Which is absolute heaven when you are sewing anything tricky that you don't want to shift too much when the presser foot is lifted.  


In the free tutorial, there are three options for the pattern--you can select birthstone colors for 3, 4, or 5 people (or even more-but you'll have to do the math for that on you own ;)

If you have a couple of people with the same birthstone, you can use different tones of that stone for a little variety.  Some months even have multiple birthstones (or so I was told in my reading up on different months...), so you could go that route as well.  Happy sewing, and see you next time!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Lorelei dress: Gemma's first Easter dress

I know I'm getting a little off my usual topic by showing you some recent garment sewing, but I like to mix it up a little bit, and to be honest, a good variety of projects keeps me excited about what I'm doing every day.  This post is ALL about selfish sewing.  I took a little break from my other projects to make this and loved the result. 

I'm not a die hard mom that makes every little thing for the baby, but I did want to make one special occasion dress for Gemma as a baby--her first Easter dress.  I opted for the Lorelei Pattern from E-Beth Designs because I know Elizabeth and love, love, love the dress she made for her adorable little girl.  Plus, I purchased the mommy and me package to make matchy matchy dresses, but I was a little ambitious and didn't leave myself enough time before Easter got here.  One of these days I'll get to it, but I'll make it in a print I love instead of matching my baby girl!  Also, there is a fantastic petticoat under the dress, and the pattern is so well written that there really isn't any chance you can mess it up.  I was so happy with the results.  You can purchase the pattern on Elizabeth's website and sew it up for any special event that you have coming up.  The only suggestion I would make is to use a cotton lining fabric instead of polyester, especially if sewing for a young child.  Our church is kind of hot and Gemma was a sweaty little baby by the end of the service, so a more breathable weave might be a better option if you know you'll be in warmer temperatures.

Photo of the Mommy and Me bundle- from E-Beth Designs website
For the fabrics, I just went with some regular quilting cottons that I had on hand and had already prewashed for another project.  Sometimes I get too excited to sew a new garment pattern and don't want to wait or go through the hassle of making sure the fabrics are pre-shrunk, so I was happy to use something already prepped.  I used a purple gingham for the accent pieces and a very light purple and cream floral fabric that I thought was really sweet.  I usually am not such a reserved person when it comes to fabric selection, but I wanted baby girl to look sweet!

Front

Back
And here is the finished dress-I made the 6 month size, even though Gemma was only 4 months and it worked out well.  I wanted her to be able to wear it for a little bit before she outgrows it completely, and the sizing was pretty spot on.  She's a little over 6 months now and can still fit in it comfortably, which makes this momma extremely happy!  I was pleased at how professionally the dress finished--sometimes in children's clothing patterns, steps are skipped or the patterns aren't very well written, but this dress finishes with a petticoat and is fully lined.  I really enjoyed each step in the pattern and even learned some new things along the way.  Happy sewing until next time!  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Penelope Dress with Double Dutch by Latifah Saafir

Hey Guys!  I hope your week is treating you well thus far!  Recently, I had the opportunity to sew up the adorable Penelope Dress (pattern by Violette Field Threads) in Latifah Saafir's latest fabric collection, Double Dutch.  The prints are absolutely awesome, and I can't wait to get my hands on the entire line once it's released!  

Latifah had sent me the raspberry waffle cone print and the white ice cream print with some matching tulle to use as the skirt.  The ice cream print is so adorable--and detailed!  I was blown away with the attention to detail of each different kind of ice cream treat.  It took me back to my childhood and thinking about ice cream trucks and summery treats.  This print was perfection in the Penelope dress, but I can't help but think of how amazing it would look after being fussy cut and put into a quilt project.  It's definitely on my to-do list!!

Ice cream print-photo from Hoffman Fabrics website
 Here's an in-progress picture of the skirt from sooooooo much tulle.  And there was a layer of glitter tulle as well.  I will have glitter on me permanently after sewing this, but it was so worth it!  


 And then a finished picture of the front and back of the dress:


The raspberry waffle cone print was used as an accent for the collar and sash, and the ice cream print was used for the bodice, sleeves, and ties.  Latifaah has a picture on her Instagram account of her gorgeous niece modelling the dress, and her adorable nephew modelling some garments embellished with the fabrics.  

The Penelope dress was a pretty straight forward pattern, and I love Violette Field Threads' patterns.  They are always a good choice for little girl outfits and are very well written-even for a beginner sewist.  You can make the dress with tulle, or you can opt for a standard garment fabric (or even quilting cotton).  It is a little bit time consuming, but totally worth it and a great dress for spinning in ;)

Be on the lookout for Latifah's line and make sure to snatch some up before it's gone!  Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Mini Quilt Show

The guild I belong to recently held a mini quilt show/silent auction, where the members were challenged to make modern mini quilts measuring 16" square to show and raise awareness for modern quilting and invite people to ask questions about what our guild does.  The event was graciously hosted by Sew Special Quilts in San Antonio, where they provided space for us to show the quilts and have our meeting after hours.  They were so awesome and have a great selection of quilting and sewing supplies, so if you're in need and in the area, please show them some love!  

I already posted about the mini quilt I made two weeks ago (the double wedding ring mini quilt), but I wanted to share the other two quilts I worked on, in collaboration with Debra--a fellow member of the guild.  

The first quilt I quilted was pieced by Debra from yet another guild member's inaugural fabric line (Leslie Tucker Jenison-Urban Artifacts by RJR Fabrics).  It's a great design and awesome way to showcase a variety of great fabrics.  For this quilt, I just quilted some simple contrasting straight lines.  I think the fabrics and design of the mini are more prone to show better when the quilting design is simple.
Pieced by Debra B, fabric-Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison
pardon the not-square appearing mini.  It really was square, but I forgot to smooth that wrinkle before I snapped this picture.  This was right after quilting and mini was not yet bound. 

The second quilt I quilted was also in collaboration with Debra.  Debra hand cut each charm square from a Grunge charm pack and fused the fabrics to the background.  I thought this was a super cool quilt pattern to use and has the illusion that all the circles are connected.  For this one I wanted to do something to make the circles stand out from the background, so I quilted a smaller grid on the fused circles and then did some straight line quilting on the background fabric.  

Mini Quilt "pieced" by Debra B. using Grunge fabrics
We had a really great night and the event was so much fun.  It isn't often that everyone in our guild participates in "Sew and Tell", and we had a lot of members participate in this.  Seeing the range of everyone's quilting interests and what their personal specialty is was a treat.